Thursday, January 5, 2012


Blue Jay Barrens got its first snow of the season on January 2.  A total of two inches accumulated before noon and the rest of the day was a mix of wind, sun, clouds and snow showers.  You would have thought we were finally settling in to winter, if it weren’t for the predictions of a rapid warm-up back into the 50’s.

The flakes were large, but they were dry enough to settle down through the Indian Grass without sticking to the stalks.  There was enough warmth left in the ground to partially melt the snow and allow it to settle into a denser layer.

Ant mounds are always easy to see after a snow. Their snow cap will melt as soon as the sun emerges.

Snow on the ground makes it easy to view the trees and shrubs in the woodland understory.  The presence of a Sycamore on a steep slope is usually an indication of a wet weather spring.  These moisture loving trees can survive on the steep slope because of the added water provided by the spring.  The spring flow is often not enough to sustain a large tree, so the Sycamore will likely not grow to extreme proportions.

A snowy background provides the best conditions for illustrating the sprawling growth habit of the Fragrant Sumac.  The trunk of this low growing shrub may reach 20 feet long, but that length sprawls along the ground and drapes over other woodland shrubs.  In some situations this plant can become aggressive enough to displace other vegetation and produce a Fragrant Sumac monoculture.

New fallen snow always enhances the esthetic qualities of the creek.  I’m anxious for the snow to melt quickly, so the creek will be in shape to be beautified by the next new fallen snow.

Robins were busy digging in the wet leaves lining the creek and its tributaries.  I haven’t yet seen them gathered in large flocks.  Most groups contained around a dozen individuals.

The tall grass does a good job of hiding the snow, but it’s easy to see in the areas of sparse vegetative cover.  The afternoon skies showed a few patches of blue that gave the appearance of a pleasant day.  The strong wind and below freezing temperatures made you feel otherwise.

The clouds looked to be coming in as waves, but they were actually moving to the south in columns.  Each band stayed intact and moved quickly from right to left across the sky.  I could imagine the bands stretching all the way to Lake Michigan, which appears to have provided the moisture for this event.


  1. The snow sure made it look like winter, didn't it. That day was a mess on the highway just south of Cincy. It's gone down here now, too.

  2. Hi Steve...The snow makes everything look fresh and long as it is only a little ; }
    The Robin sure looks pretty there in snow!!
    We have no snow, but darn cold yesterday morning 8 above and we are in for a warm up here to it must be raising havoc with the plants and trees!!
    Watch your step, and get the suntan lotion out for the warm up..haha!!

  3. Hi Lois. I drove to Athens on the day of the snow. Route 32 ranged from dry pavement to completely snow and ice covered. Conditions changed every few miles, making for a very interesting trip. It made it into the mid 40's today, but we've still got snow holding on in the shady areas.

    Hi Grace. We had 40's today and are expecting 50's tomorrow. Hopefully that will get rid of the last of the snow.
    Temperatures were in the single digits two nights ago, so our furnace chose that time to stop working. Yesterday morning, I called a reliable local contractor who came out and got the furnace going again. He would have come in the middle of the night if I'd asked him to, but I hate to wake people up if it's not a real emergency.